1 Chronicles 11:4-9 – The One Criteria That Really Matters

Posted: February 22, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 11:4-9

David Captures Jerusalem

In the books of Chronicles, we see the history of Israel repeated from the previous historical books prior to it. The telling of the stories again in Chronicles is for a different purpose. Chronicles was produced while Israel and Judah were in conquered exile. The purpose of Chronicles was to analyze the history so that future generations would not make the same mistakes as their forefathers, but also to praise those men of Israelite history that kept the faith and sought after God. Today, we begin reliving some of the episodes of the life of David.

Here, we are reminded of David and how he “was a man after God’s own heart!” Although David made many mistakes as a military leader and as king, he was indeed a man that sought after God. He was a man who, when his sins were made clear to him, he would go into mourning and repentance and emerge a stronger man of God. He was a great man of God in the biblical age. However, for some reason, as we go down memory lane in Chronicles, I was reminded of how David’s intentions, even though he was an obvious man of God, were often questioned. Certainly, there were cases where he brought on himself, but there was one particular incident that came to mind where his motives were pure but he was still criticized. That incident was when he was bringing the Ark into the city of Jerusalem. He was so overjoyed at finally being able to bring the visual evidence of a God he loved back into the city, he danced in just a joy of happiness that some of us may never know as he was leading the Ark into the city. He was criticized for showing his exuberant love of God at that moment. His detractors said he was being egotistical and drawing attention unto himself.

The reason that I thought about that incident as I read this passage of David’s ascension as a man of God is that this issue just keeps getting repeated to me in different ways. This past week, for my Pastoral Theology course related to my pursuit of my D.Min. degree, I had to prepare a research paper on the theological positions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the course of my research, it really developed in my mind that Dr. King’s theological positions were mainly focused on the theology of right now, the theology of urgency. Dr. King’s positions on theological issues were still evolving as he was only 39 years old when he was murdered in April 1968. However, the most developed part of his theological positions were about those aspect of our faith that call us to do something now, not later, not just pray and leave it at that. Dr. King if he would have had a favorite biblical author, it would have been James. James chastised the Jerusalem Christians for being too much in the head and the heart with their love of God and not enough in action in a world that needs us to change it. To James and to Dr. King, faith without action was simply a head game, an academic exercise. Praying for someone but not acting bothered both men. However, at the same time, Dr. King was criticized by even moderate whites for pressing too hard and constantly keeping the issues too much in the spotlight. His detractors even said that he was trying to put the spotlight on himself. They called his actions self-indulgent and egotistical.

And then just last night, I was reading about the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 1. It was there that Paul was having to defend his ministry simply because they felt snubbed by him because he had to change his travel plans and could not come immediately to Corinth. With that perceived snub, they began to question Paul’s authority and motives altogether. As we progress through 2 Corinthians, we see that Paul has to defend his ministry from all sorts of accusations. It is a stern letter that defends his ministry and as you read it, you have to feel sorry for Paul, a passionate man of God, who is having to defend himself and his ministry just because a perceived snub of having to reschedule a visit.

In all three of these situations, it is a reminder that no matter how godly of a person you might be, there will be those who criticize you. And like David, you press on. And like Paul, you press on. And like Dr. King, you press on. This passage reminds us of David’s main motivation was that he was a man after God’s own heart and the memory of his dancing in front of the ark that came to mind is a reminder of why he was given that label. It was because, even with all his failings, David was about pleasing God. With that in mind, let’s read this passage now with particular attention to the fact that “heavens armies were with him”:

4 Then David and all Israel went to Jerusalem (or Jebus, as it used to be called), where the Jebusites, the original inhabitants of the land, were living. 5 The people of Jebus taunted David, saying, “You’ll never get in here!” But David captured the fortress of Zion, which is now called the City of David.

6 David had said to his troops, “Whoever is first to attack the Jebusites will become the commander of my armies!” And Joab, the son of David’s sister Zeruiah, was first to attack, so he became the commander of David’s armies.

7 David made the fortress his home, and that is why it is called the City of David. 8 He extended the city from the supporting terraces[b] to the surrounding area, while Joab rebuilt the rest of Jerusalem. 9 And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was with him.

In this passage, we see it mentioned that David’s power increased as a direct result of his consistent trust in God. In contrast, Saul’s power decreased because he wanted all the credit for himself and ignored God. Those who are concerned about building a name for themselves risk losing the very recognition they crave. Like David, we should be concerned for the righteousness, honesty and excellence and leave the results to God. However, it is clear that even David’s intentions were often questioned. Later, when David was finally able to bring the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem he was so excited that he danced in front of the Ark as it was being brought into Jerusalem. He was roundly criticized by his wife for drawing attention to himself. Even though his motives were out of his pure love and joy for the God he worshiped, he was criticized.

As Christ followers, when we seek to chase after God, we should always keep our focus on God. When we focus on our desires, we end up losing. When we focus on trying to please people instead of God, we end up losing. That’s not to say what others tell us is often a warranted rebuke from God, through that person. However, if our focus is on pleasing God, then, He will be with us and will lead us to the right path. We must examine ourselves to determine if our chosen actions are about pleasing ourselves/pleasing others or about pleasing God. When we examine our actions in light of pleasing God, our actions certainly must be consistent with Scripture, consistent with the character of God, and consistent with what the Holy Spirit (not our ego) is telling us in our soul. If all three of those things line up, then, we must be doing what God wants us to do. It was right for David to dance with exuberance in his love of God. It was right for Paul to rebuke the attacks against him. It was right for Dr. King to continually keep the heat on with regard to the systematic and institutionalized racism against blacks so that all people can be seen as being equally made in the image of God.

God will bless that which is in alignment with his will and those who are after God’s own heart. Let us each aspire to make our decisions based on whether they please God or not. In each and every decision in life, that should be the criteria – is what I am doing pleasing to God? How do we determine that? Through God’s Word, through prayer, through listening to the Spirit of God resident in our souls.

Amen and Amen.

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